July 15, 2011

I Trust My Principal

One of the many things that I was afraid of as a new teacher (all 4 years ago when I started) was my principal. It's one of those catch 22 situations. They hired you, so you have to assume that they saw something in you at the time. On the other hand, you have no real idea of what they saw or what they were expecting.

When did it become a "thing" to be afraid of your administrator? Why have they been painted into the corner of reactive disciplinarian? Administrators are around to do what teachers can't - give advice, backup
, mediation, and on the rare occurrences, bring the pain when someone is not upholding their end of the bargain at their school.

My experience with my principal has been overall positive. Judged entirely on my work performance - student, parent, and colleague satisfaction - I am not worried about what they will see. In addition, when I have found opportunities to reform my teaching practices in ways that other teachers at my school did not understand, or maybe even feared, my administrator was there to see what I was doing and to support my efforts in any way they knew how.

Administrators have a lot of hard work and hard decisions to make, like all educators. They are in positions that require them to make judgement calls as to what would benefit the many, or at least prevent their harm. I can see how my principal works to benefit the students and staff whenever possible. In times like these I wish that they had more control over the hiring/firing/pink slipping decisions at the school. It's time that we all came together and acknowledged, at least at the school level, that we ALL got into this career path for the same reasons.

Update: after reading my post my wife pointed out something that it was lacking. The world we live in is nowhere near perfect. There are still bosses, in whatever area you work, that do not have the greater good as their goal. We can't all just go out and blindly trust everyone, and you shouldn't. Relationships must be built and tested. Sometimes not to the best conclusion.

My bottom line is this - we need to anticipate and at least hope for the best while planning for the worst. Don't assume that everyone is out to screw you. Just some people ;-)

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